The new Republic Wireless cell phone service has been released. This service offers unlimited cell, data and text, for only $19 a month. They piggy-back off of Sprint’s CDMA 3G services, but rely primarily on Wi-Fi for network connectivity. Republic requires the user to log on at least 1 Wi-Fi hotspot (easily your home) but Republic asks that the user jump on any Wi-Fi signal when possible. Republic will track your data usage – and if you use 3G too much they will cut you off (with a warning of course).
The service starts off with an LG Optimus One Android Smartphone with Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) for $199. This phone is the pre-paid Android phone du-jour, appearing on Amazon for less than $130. I consider this phone to be absolutely unusable, with only a 3.2″ screen. The screen is only 480×320 pixels, it has a slower processor, and very little memory (though is microSD expandable).
While Republic Wireless is truly going to be a game changer in wireless options (I’m seriously considering dropping my plan to data only and re-porting to Google Voice), they will have to get a handset that is not a complete joke. While there are all sorts of ROMs and Root options for the LG Optimus One (to make it almost useful) they will have to be re-configured to handle the VoIP call switching of Republic Wireless.
The special sauce in Republic Wireless is the ability to seamlessly switch to VoIP capabilities, an option that is currently available for Android, but not for the faint of heart at all. I love this move by Republic Wireless – and hope that we start to see more options like this – that offer telecom services for what they truly cost.
Republic Wireless allows 550 minutes, 150 texts and 300MB with 0% Wi-Fi usage. Boost, Virgin and the other pay as you go plans have got to be worried (especially if Roms + flashing capabilities pop up for current pay as you go Android phones). Republic Wireless has re-defined the pre-paid wireless paradigm, and will be a total game changer in the future.
Would you be willing to “commit” to Republic Wireless? If so, please state your reasons, similarly, if not, I would love to hear them.